November 28, 2018 | by Alexian Chiavegato

Mobile shoppers smash retail records on Black Friday

If it keeps up, they may have to come up with a new color for Black Friday. Green obviously would have to be the leading contender.

Apparently tired of getting up at 3:00 am and physically battling fellow in-store shoppers (although that still happened as the media habitually shows us), consumers in the United States purchased more than $2 billion in retail items straight from their smartphones on Black Friday – the first day in history that this has occurred.

And, according to widely reported numbers supplied by Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions for 80 of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S. (like Walmart and Amazon), mobile device sales accounted for almost a third of all e-commerce sales on what is a traditionally a day of street shopping. Adobe found that found that 33.5 percent of e-commerce sales on Friday came from mobile devices, compared with 29.1 percent in 2017.

That represents a lot of digital exercise for our fingers or thumbs. And you can imagine that we’ll soon learn how many calories you can actually burn by letting your “fingers do the walking” while sitting on a couch or a recliner? But, for many of us, Black Friday now appears to start with the smartphone or tablet.

Breaking down the numbers

According to Adobe, total online revenue hit $6.22 billion which is up 23.6-percent from last year and represents a new record. Big ticket items (appliances, furniture, and larger electronics) were also being purchased in huge clips. Average order values, according to Adobe, totaled $146 which were up 8.5 percent over last year.

And when you see numbers like this, it’s becoming clear that Black Friday is no longer a simple 24 hours. Adobe claims that online sales on Thanksgiving Day totaled $3.7 billion, up 28 percent from last year, making it the fastest-growing day for e-commerce sales in history.

Thursday also saw $1 billion in sales from smartphones, with shoppers spending 8 percent more online on Thursday compared with a year ago. And, for the first time, according to Adobe, online prices Thanksgiving Day “were as low as on Black Friday.” The potential good news from all of this is that mall traffic was probably manageable for those consumers who didn’t choose to turn to their phones or desktop computers to grab bargains. The surge in online and mobile sales comes on the heels of a Reuters report based on RetailNext analytics, which noted a 5 percent to 9 percent drop in foot traffic at stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

The evolution of BOPIS

But perhaps traffic problems will just be spread out more thanks to another wonderful new acronym that marketers will be fired up about — BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store). The fact that this acronym even exists is indicative of a major shift in focus for marketers—the combination of offline and online business.

Again, this integration starts with the device. It is a given that online retailers and publishers are getting smart about opportunities to build a better mobile experience through design, smoother user interface, and brand cohesion. These are the keys to mobile monetization and, according to Adobe Analytics, online retailers were able to turn 10-percent more smartphone visitors into buyers this Black Friday compared to last year.

The delight of discovery (and whether something is in stock) now primarily takes place online and, if an item isn’t shipped directly, the visit to a physical store is simply about completing the task. With shopping now, the thrill isn’t gone. It’s just changed.